Urtica membranacea, Urtica caudata, Urtica dubia,
Membranous Nettle,
Hebrew: סרפד קרומי, Arabic: قريص غشائي

Scientific name:  Urtica membranacea Poir.
Synonym name:  Urtica caudata Vahl, Urtica dubia Forssk.
Common name:  Membranous Nettle
Hebrew name:  סרפד קרומי
Arabic name:  قريص غشائي
Plant Family:  Urticaceae, סרפדיים

Urtica membranacea, Urtica caudata, Urtica dubia,Membranous Nettle, قريص غشائي , סרפד קרומי

Life form:  Annual
Spinescence:  Emergences
Stems:  15-80 cm high
Leaves:  Opposite
Inflorescence:  Axillary, spike-like, with clustered ultimate branches
Flowers:  Green, racemes unisexual, the lower female shorter than the petiole, the upper male, longer than the petiole; flowers inserted unilaterally on a inflated axis
Fruits / pods:  Achenes, broad ovoid, 1-1.2 x 0.6-0.7 mm; slight lustrous, whitish-yellow
Flowering Period:   January, February, March, April, May
Habitat:   Nutrient-rich soils, ruderal
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands
Chorotype:   Mediterranean
Summer shedding:  Ephemeral

Israel wildflowers, Travel, Nature

Derivation of the botanical name:
Urtica, uro, I burn, alluding to the nettle's sting; stinging nettle. Their capability to sting makes them useful for metaphors.
membranacea, membrana, skin, membrane, parchment; skinlike, membranous.
caudata,cauda, tail; having a tail, usually referring to the shape of the inflorescence.
dubia, doubtfull, in the sense of not following the genus pattern.
The Hebrew name"סרפד, serpad, maybe from סרף = שרף, "Seraf" שרף (resin) and it also indicates the burning characteristic of the plant.
  • The standard author abbreviation Poir. is used to indicate Jean Louis Marie Poiret (1755 – 1834), a French clergyman, botanist and explorer.
  • The standard author abbreviation Vahl is used to indicate Martin Vahl (1749 – 1804), a Danish-Norwegian botanist and zoologist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Forssk. is used to indicate Peter Forsskål (1732 – 1763), a Swedish explorer, orientalist, naturalist.
There are four species of true nettles found in Israel: Urtica pilulifera, Urtica urens, Urtica membranacea (Urtica caudata, Urtica dubia), and Urtica kioviensis. They are all common pests of waste places and fields.
In the Bible three different Hebrew names are quoted: Sirpad (סרפד)- in Isaiah 55:13; Seravim (סרבים)- in Ezekiel 2:6; Harul (הרול)-Zephaniah 2:9. They are synonyms, the roots s-r-f and h-a-r both meaning 'scorching' or 'burning'.

Bible resources:
  1. Isaiah 55:13
    Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
    This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.
  2. Ezekiel 2:6
    And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words.
    Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions.
  3. Hosea 9:6
    Even if they escape from destruction, Egypt will gather them, and Memphis will bury them.
    Their treasures of silver will be taken over by briers, and thorns will overrun their tents.
  4. Zephaniah 2:9
    Surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah—
    a place of nettles and salt pits, a wasteland forever.